Neil Reynolds is attending the International Water Summit in Abu Dhabi this week. Neil will participate on a panel to address the importance of water and energy conservation in today’s world.

By: Neil Reynolds, CH2M HILL Regional Managing Director for Middle East and North Africa and India

Neil Reynolds will serve as the moderator of the International Water Summit session, ”It’s not Gadgets is People that Save Water,” on Wednesday, January 22, from 2:45-3:30pm.

Good governance and leadership are required to motivate change, especially when it comes to incentivizing individuals to conserve water. Both short-term and long-term water shortages can be addressed by implementing policies, incentives, and regulations to ensure a more sustainable supply of water now and in the future. The days of cheap and plentiful water are no longer, and it’s time for us to shift our view on the value of water and its true cost. After all, water is a resource we all share, and it’s essential to all life.

Utilities and organizations have launched effective water conservation programs and campaigns, but there remains work to be done to further incentive people to change their behavior on water use.

This is especially apparent throughout energy-intensive industries like oil, gas, mining, and cement which require large quantities of water to operate. Additionally, after manpower, energy is the highest operating cost item for water and wastewater companies. Energy consumption by the sector has increased considerably in the last 10 years as new technologies have been implemented to meet stricter effluent and potable water quality standards.

The water-energy nexus, a hot topic at the inaugural International Water Summit, continues to be a topic of discussion this year. It is encouraging to see industry leaders and executives seeking sustainable solutions to better manage their water and energy use. Understanding the need to better manage water and energy use is more than an environmental gesture; it impacts a company’s bottom line as well.

As demand for water and energy increases, companies are making it a business priority to manage their carbon footprint, helping raise the bar by encouraging greater innovation and new technologies for a more sustainable world. Corporate responsibility and good governance initiatives, something as simple as changing lights bulbs or replacing old computers, have lead to significant overhead cost savings by reducing electricity and gas use. Today, most major corporations monitor greenhouse gas emissions and their carbon footprint and have taken it upon themselves to identify ways to cut energy consumption and improve efficiencies across their supply chain. By implementing and managing effective sustainability programs and collecting data on the tangible results, companies are making a sizeable impact on reducing carbon emissions and better managing waste and resource use across their operations.

While our world has made progress on reducing our carbon footprint by implementing energy and water savings initiatives, there is still room for improvement. It will require more collaboration between government leaders, industry, businesses, and consumers. At CH2M HILL, we’re committed to sustainability and constantly seek ways to build a better world. In addition to managing and reporting on our own sustainability initiatives, our sustainability expertise has helped numerous clients deliver long-term cost savings and greater efficiency in their operations.

I look forward to the dialogue taking place this week in Abu Dhabi. The International Water Summit will provide a valuable forum for discussion on the regulations, technologies, and ideas for addressing water scarcity and the water-energy nexus. If you are attending the conference, stop by our booth #4010 to speak with our employees about your efforts so we can continue to develop and implement sustainable solutions together. We will also have employees participating in the World Future Energy Summit (WFES). Don’t miss the WFES panel discussion, “Energy Efficiency—Industry,” on January, 22 at 12:15pm.

Neil Reynolds is the Regional Managing Director for CH2M HILL in the Middle East, North Africa, and India. He leads the firm’s operations and is responsible for its growth in the region. Prior to this assignment, Reynolds was the Director of International Operations for the firm’s Water Business Group. Reynolds is a Chartered Engineer, Chartered Environmentalist, and a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He has more than 30 years of experience in international infrastructure project development, engineering, procurement, and construction, including experience in numerous countries in the Middle East and Africa. Reynolds is based in Abu Dhabi.